Week 11, July 7th 2020

On Tuesday, Ali was joined by Maggie (TeenTech) and Steven Smith from BT who gave the pupils fantastic feedback on the buildings they’d created during the week as part of our TeenTech City of Tomorrow at Home programme.

The range of innovative ideas and cleverly constructed buildings submitted by imaginative pupils from around the UK.  Steven was amazed by what the pupils had achieved in such a short time, and particularly loved seeing the technology being incorporated into the designs!

Our first building of the session was created by Mohammad, aged 11 from Bristol, and called House of Many Buildings.

“They are all different types of houses. The first one is a church the second one is a tower clock and the third one is a bungalow and the final one is a flat. 
The church is also a religious school and helps people understand their religion better.”

Maggie loved Mohammad’s thoughts about the way the buildings fit together and change the way people connect and their surroundings. Maggie added that the way different structures complement each other is a very sophisticated approach to achieve the aims of his design concept. Steven agreed saying that adults usually focus on one building to fit as many people into it, but Muhammad had considered the cultural aspect of including all types of buildings that people wish to go to which was truly impressive and forward thinking!

Our second building- The Padlock – was designed as a multipurpose building and made by Ibrahim and Zainab, aged 10 and 8 from Bristol.

“At the back of the house it has a helicopter pad. However, at the front there are security cameras that can also scan your DNA (so no one can trespass even after plastic surgery)…..The door is made of very strong metal. 
This house will be safer to live as less chances of robbery will occur.”
Ibrahim and Zainab

Steven thought this was a great idea which had the capacity to be developed still further – for example perhaps using the scanner to sense health and movement of the residents.

Maggie shared that many youngsters have great concerns about safety and security as indicated whenever TeenTech does surveys at school workshops. She felt that this building could help address the issues about safety from others and make the building feel secure. She discussed how we could make safe use of the DNA scanning devices whilst still maintain personal  privacy – perhaps through smart locks, adding that if you can get a house to ‘know’ who should be in there that would be great!

Flexibed by Annabelle, aged 11 from Swanley was our next building, designed for the health and well-being of the community.

“The Flexibed is a small temporary building for emergency shelter, it can be fitted on Train Station platforms where the people using them can also use the other facilities too.  Alongside the Flexibeds there would also be a pop-up care centre in the Station building so they can get help and advice.   
This would provide a safe place to be and it would be a low-cost option for the Local Authority as 80% of the infrastructure is already there and not being used at night time. Volunteers would help cook hot meals and lend an ear for those who need to talk.”

Maggie loved this elegantly simple idea which made it very special. The concept of adding a bed attached to buildings to provide emergency situations is a very elegant solution. Ali also loved the name of the building, as it would be a good one to remember!  Steven agreed that Flexibed was a great idea, adding that  it combines existing ideas so could therefore be used in many different ways. He also suggested ways to develop the idea further through technology, for example potentially using technology to gain access to help when needed, rather than having a person physically at each place.

Our next building called RS Towers was a team effort produced by a team of Year 6 pupils from North  Harringay Primary School, London – Madeline, Daisy, Paige, Lily and Nikola.

A multipurpose building, RS Towers provides an orphanage, rescue centre, hospital and school.

“It is special because it is a place where anyone from any background can come and live, learn and have fun. They can stay as long as they need. It is made out of glass and wood, its eco- friendly the wood has been reused from other projects. A friendly robot is provided to support children with special needs.” Madeline, Daisy, Paige, Lily and Nikola 

Maggie loved that the team had taken a community wide approach to the challenge. She also loved the friendly robot as it can do extra things to what humans can do, for example in talking to a robot children can relate to them differently to adults which can help in some situations. Steven loved the technology in this design and the use of sustainable materials which is really important now and into the future. He was really pleased that the N. Harringay team included these considerations to recycle materials. All agreed that great teamwork shone through in this project – so a big well done for that too!

Martha, aged 9 from Bristol, called her residential building Eco -Tower, which was next up.

Everything about it is eco-friendly. All building materials are recycled- metal/glass. It has grass/plants on the roof top to attract wildlife. There are solar panels for renewable energy. It addresses lack of space in the city by building upwards and  brings wildlife/nature into the city. And it is a nicer place to live.” Martha

Maggie felt that we all appreciate access to green space, especially at the  moment, and that Martha had really thought about the impact of her building, as the space on the top of Eco-Tower would offer something really important to people’s quality of life. She added that thinking about where we are now and what is ahead is an important issue for architects, as well as providing features for good quality of life – so congratulated Martha for thinking about these things. Ali loved the green walls! Steven agreed saying that the greenery growing up the side both makes the building look better and covers up the building material underneath. He also loved Martha’s use of solar panels which make good use of environmentally friendly energy.

Lucas, aged 9 from London created our next building called  North London Eco Hospital –  a sustainable and ecological hospital with helicopter pad!
“It has solar panels to generate electricity and collects rainwater so the hospital is sustainable and minimises pollution.  The hospital also uses  robotics  to help patients. The trees on the roof help cut pollution and the building is Eco friendly and technologically advanced.” Lucas

Maggie was hugely impressed with this model which looked like some serious work had gone into it! She loved how it was constructed to give a very clear vision of what it’s meant to look like, for example the use of helipad, ecological footprint, and green spaces.  Maggie added that the rooftop garden was a  very important feature and wonderful as a way of feeling connected to the world. Some lovely ideas! Steven agreed that it was a  great concept and loved how Lucas had incorporated the use of tech as much as possible to help patients interact, especially  important for children. Steven also liked the idea of collecting water, which is good for reuse – for example ‘grey’ water. He also feels that green space is important as it can help with recovery. Maggie discussed some features she had seen which could be included to keep surfaces clean and free from contamination such as blinds put into the centre of the glass of windows in new builds- to keep them clean! Ali finished off by applauding Lucas’ attention to detail within his building which highlighted his great use of scale – not an easy thing to achieve!

Our final building, called The Grand Hotel, came from – Neve and Mimi, both aged 9 from London. This was a team effort which really showed a great sense of community spirit!

“The building is a hotel and it has solar panels to help with the energy.  It also has a car park for electric cars and battery points.  The playground is for hotel guests and locals too.  The hotel offers free wifi and uses this to advertise and provide information to the community.  For our design, we decided to show the inside of the hotel as if the building was cut in half.” Neve and Mimi

Ali loved the idea of the playground which looked innovative! Maggie agreed and said that generally, we love the unpredictable aspects of hotels. She added that to have the space available to the whole community was a really good idea and would encourage discovery about new things in the community – it flips the idea of the usual ‘hotel patrons only’  concept which is refreshing. Steven agreed that focusing on the local community is very important and that looking into the future we will be looking more at communal aspects of buildings. He was interested to think how could tech be used more – for example having robot butlers would be great! Steven added that what makes a hotel really memorable is its ability to help people understand more about the people around it and the city around it – something that The Grand Hotel would achieve!